Spartans Looking for Three in a Row in the Caribbean
Spartanburg, S.C. - When the USC Upstate men's golf team tees off in the Caribbean Intercollegiate Monday morning, it will look to secure its third-straight win in Puerto Rico. The Spartans won the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic in 2010 and the Caribbean Classic last year.
Upstate is one of six teams in the tournament hosted by St. Johns at the Costa Caribe Golf Club. The course is a par-72 layout and plays at 6,744 yards. Joining Upstate in the tournament is IPFW, La Vall University - Quebec, Old Dominion, Rollins and St. Johns.
Upstate won the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic at Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 2010 by seven strokes over Old Dominion. Current Spartan Brian Horton shared the individual championship with former great Josh Gallman. Last year, current Spartan Adam Goins claimed the individual title to lead Upstate to the championship of the Caribbean Classic.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Goins, Horton, Matthew Hopper, Brad Sill and Tyler Comer into the tournament. The Spartans are averaging 297.4 per round on the season. Goins tops the club with a 73.7 stroke average on the season, while Sill and Horton average 75.2 and 75.3, respectively. Hopper and Comer are tied for fourth on the team at 76.7 per round. Daniel Revell is competing in the tournament as an individual and will see his first action of the year.
Goins is coming off a 14th-place finish at last week's Charleston Shootout, competing against two teams, Florida and Augusta State, ranked in the top 50. Upstate finished tied for eighth in the tournament.
Goins Asserting Himself at Leader on the Course
Through five scored tournaments this season, sophomore Adam Goins has asserted himself as the leader on the course. He has been the low Spartan in four of the five scored tournaments, including last week's Charleston Shootout. He also owns the team lead with a 73.7 stroke average, a full 1.5 strokes ahead of the next Spartan. The only time he has not finished as the low Spartan was when he was third on the team at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic in October. He was 3-1 at The Match Play at Reunion, picking up wins at the No. 1 position over nationally-ranked South Florida.
Spartans in the Rankings
After winning the Rutgers Invitational, finishing middle of the pack in their other three fall events and claiming second in The Match Play at Reunion, Upstate is ranked in the top half of the Division I golf teams in the country. Upstate is ranked 138th by Golfstat and 143rd by Golfweek in their latest rankings.
Strong Effort at The Match Play
Seeded fifth to start the tournament, Upstate improved three positions over its seeding to finish 2nd in a strong field at The Match Play at Reunion to start the spring season. After defeating Illinois State in the first round, the Spartans claimed back-to-back wins over top 60 South Florida before dropping a 4-2 contest to top 50 Notre Dame in the championship match.
Horton Earns First Career A-Sun Weekly Honor
After going 4-0, including three wins over players from nationally-ranked Notre Dame and South Florida, junior Brian Horton was named the A-Sun Golfer of the Week. It marked his first weekly honor from the league. He opened the tournament with a 4 & 3 victory over Illinois State's Jordan Fahel. He then took back-to-back wins over USF's Tommy Riehle, winning the first match 4 & 2 and the second 3 & 1. In the championship match against Notre Dame, he scored a 4 & 2 win over Tyler Wingo.
Winning Records Head-to-Head
Through the four tournaments of the fall, three Spartans emerged to lead the team on the season. Not surprisingly, all three have winning head-to-head records against the competition. Adam Goins not only tops the team with a 73.9 stroke average, but he tops the Spartans with a .784 winning percentage. Brad Sill is second on the team with a 75.2 stroke average and a .658 winning percentage. Brian Horton is third on the team with a 75.3 stroke average and a .644 winning percentage. Matthew Hopper, with a .512 winning percentage, is the fourth player above .500 for the season.